Friday, January 09, 2015
Our family gives an extraordinary number of books for Christmas. During one lazy Christmas vacation day a couple of weeks ago, we discussed the importance of libraries in our lives. We fondly remembered favorite books from our past and traded library stories. We recalled librarians we had known.
I'm a passionate advocate for interlibrary loan. Without that service I could not do academic research. I can locate microfilmed newspapers and obscure documents and have them mailed to my local library. When I heard of library closings or of students doing strictly on-line research I rise up to argue in favor of hitting the stacks.
The problem with using Google or other search engines rather than supplementing with library research is that on-line is too narrowly focused. By going to the library we are free to explore books that would be overlooked otherwise. It's an opportunity to expand creativity and make connections.
During this discussion, my grandson, John Crockett won the prize for library devotion. He's a junior at Colby College in Maine. He reached for his wallet and pulled out his very first library card. He received it when he was in kindergarten and had proudly signed his name.
This will be short tonight as I'm behind on a manuscript, but I just wanted our readers to know that libraries are alive and well and deeply embedded in the heart of America.